1st Moscow Pre-Moot

by Yana Ivanova

On March 13, 2010, Law Faculty of MSU hosted the first pre-moot for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition.

Growing popularity of Vis-moot is evidenced in numbers. In 2010 the 17th Vis competition was attended by 228 law schools from 68 countries, сcomparing to 11 law schools from 9 countries at the first one in 1993.

The Vis-moot consists of two crucial phases: the writing of memorandums for claimant and respondent and the hearing of oral argument based upon the memorandums — both settled by arbitral experts in the issues considered. As for the pre-moots, they were not originally proposed by Vis-moot “founding fathers” and appeared highly spontaneously. Pre-moot is a “dress rehearsal” for the participants, which de jure does not affect the final result of the teams in Vienna. However, pre-moot network grew up and now includes Munich, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Paris, New York, San Diego, and in recent years had spread in the Eastern Europe — Warsaw, Prague, Budapest and Belgrade. Leading law schools and reputable arbitration institutions open their doors to the pre-moot participants.

Pre-moot pleadings borrow the format of Vienna rounds. Oral arguments are followed by personal feedback for the Councils from the panel of arbitrators. During pre-moot participants have unique opportunity to practice the art of jus controversum, to improve existing legal positions and along with the criticism of the panel learn how to conduct a successful pleading. Subsequently, teams of those countries which, on a regular basis organize pre-moots and multiply participate in such events, occupy top positions in the rankings that make-up the competition. The brightest example, in this course, is Germany. German law schools traditionally demonstrate excellent results in the Vis moot and competing “on the edge” with native speakers — the British, Americans and Australians who have the natural linguistic advantage.

In 2010 Lomonosov Moscow State University, as the oldest national law school, provided a venue for the pre-moot. The ambitious idea for the first Russian pre-moot to be hosted at Lomonosov Moscow State University belongs to the MSU team coaches-2010, Olesya Petrol and Alexander Yagelnitskiy. The event consisted of four pleading rounds, so that each team managed to act as a council on behalf of Claimant and Respondent. All Russian teams took part in the pre-moot: Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Russian Academy of Justice (RAJ), St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), Higher School of Economics (HSE), and the host of the pre-moot — Moscow State University (MSU).

Through the exceptional efforts of Ms. Olesya Petrol, head organizer of Moscow Pre-Moot, MSU managed to gather truly qualified panels of arbitrators. Among the arbitrators there were eminent representatives of academia — Artem G. Karapetov and Mikhail L. Galperin. Also there were a number of practicing lawyers and former multiple participants of the Vis and other international moot courts: Ivan Chuprunov (Linklaters), Egor Chilikov (Sirota & Mosgo), Alexandr Yagelnitskiy, Olesya Petrol (Macleod Dixon), Kirill Udovichenko (Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners), Dmitry Dyakin (Magisters), Lev Soloviev (Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton), Alexander Vaneev (Magisters); Francesca Albert (Herbert Smith) and Richard Chlup (Mannheimer Swartling). It is noteworthy to mention that in 2010, during the pleadings in Vienna, Russia was represented by five lawyers who were to act as arbitrators. Moscow pre-moot had a pleasure to invite two of them to preside over the rounds: lecturer of international private law and civil law at MGIMO, Andrey Loboda and a graduate of the Law Faculty of MSU, Andrey Panov.

For most Russian teams Moscow pre-moot was the only opportunity to “rehear” Vienna pleadings, to “reveal” value of the arguments during the oral presentation before the Tribunal and get the “secret” of how to be persuasive. That is why pre-moot contributed very much to the teams’ preparation for international rounds.

We hope that in 2011 Moscow pre-moot will expand geographically and we look forward to seeing representatives of European, Asian and American law schools at Lomonosov Moscow State University in March 2011. Welcome!